Archives For Te Urewera Whirinaki

Come behind the scenes and into the jobs, the challenges, the highlights, and the personalities of the people who work at the Department of Conservation (DOC).

Today we profile Sarah King, a Biodiversity Ranger in the Te Urewera Whirinaki Area Office.

Sarah and her helper tend to a kaka in Whirinaki Forest.

Sarah and her helper tend to a kaka in Whirinaki Forest.

A kokako singing in a tree in Whirinaki Forest.

The most beautiful sound is a kokako dawn chorus

At work

Some things I do in my job include… Monitoring birds and bats, catching and handling threatened species (the plants are a real trick to catch), and showing other people some of the cool stuff you can see in the bush.

The best bit about my job is… Getting up close to some awesome critters.

The funniest DOC moment I’ve had so far is… Being bait to catch falcons, wearing a chief’s hat with leg nooses on top. I had to get up on a tree stump to be taller than my co worker so that the falcon would strike me—best time I’ve ever had being bait.

The DOC (or previous DOC) employee that inspires or enthuses me most is… Jeff Hudson, he taught me all that he could about the ins and outs of kōkako. His enthusiasm was so infectious that even though he’s passed away I can still feel him nudging me on to find out more.

Sarah holds a short-tailed bat.

Short tailed bats have attitude and like to investigate with their teeth

Sarah holding a tuatara in Whirinaki Forest.

Chuffed to get my hands on this big fella

On a personal note…

Most people don’t know that I… Can cross country ski (I’m not saying ‘well’ though).

My stomping ground is… The Whirinaki Forest.

If I could trade places with any other person for a week famous or not famous, living or dead, real or fictional it would be… Sir David Attenborough, what a life!

My best ever holiday was… In Tasmania with my partner, catching Tazzy devils and platypus, searching for gems in the creeks and finding as many cool critters as possible.

If I could be any New Zealand native species I’d be… A falcon—high speed aerial agility; that’d be a rush.

Deep and meaningful…

My favourite quote is… Don’t really have one but this one’s quite good: “You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.” Mae West.

The best piece of advice I’ve ever been given is… ‘Take the time to look around you, you never know what wonders you might chance to see’.

Sarah holding a kiwi during a kiwi release.

Kiwi releases are great for getting people involved

In work and life I am motivated by… Enthusiasm. It breeds more enthusiasm, and if it’s directed towards saving threatened species then that’s the best sort.

My conservation advice to New Zealanders is… Don’t take our forests and wildlife for granted, just 50 years ago we had so much more than we do now and people assumed it would be there forever.  What little we have left: treasure it, get out and see it and fight for it because soon it could be gone forever.

A tui sitting in a tree in Whirinaki Forest.

Always amazed at the colours on tui